LUNCH at the BEACH: Thoughts on Seagulls and Writing

IMG_2319A friend and I took our kids for a day at the shore this past Friday. It was a beautiful day with clear skies, mild surf and salty breezes. The kids spent the morning jumping waves and building sand forts. By lunch time they’d worked up hearty appetites and couldn’t wait to dig in to the delicious picnic we’d packed.

Sitting on boogie boards and towels, they unwrapped their sandwiches and took their first bites.  I, too, was about to dig in when, suddenly, I felt a nasty pinch and flapping of feathers. I screamed, just in time to look a seagull right in the eye.  He was trying to get my sandwich, but had gotten my finger instead.  Moments later, another seagull swooped in, this time successfully nabbing a chunk of my son’s sandwich right out of his hand. Looking up, we saw several seagulls circling overhead. “They’re dive-bombing us, Mom!” my son shouted. Then he and his friend stood and started stomping and waving to scare them off.   It didn’t work.  The seagulls kept circling and swooping.

By now the girls were screaming too. Thankfully, my friend kept her wits about her. “Sit down, everyone,” she said.  “I know what to do.”  Then grabbing our boys’ towels, she covered their heads as they sat on their boogie boards, making two makeshift picnic tents.  “If you keep your sandwiches hidden, they won’t dive in,” she explained.  She made similar tent for the girls and one for herself.  And sure enough, they worked!

Just look at the boys…

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and the girls….

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and my friend…

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Alas, I’d forgotten a towel for myself.  My solution?  My son’s orange t-shirt strategically flopped over my wide-brimmed hat provided just enough cover to thwart those nasty seagulls.

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Writing sometimes feels a lot like trying to eat lunch at the beach.  I begin the day with great intentions, but as soon as I sit down to write, those seagulls start swooping in. They might not look like birds, but if I’m not careful, things like email, Twitter, Facebook, laundry and dustbunnies, can easily snatch up all my writing time.  What I need is a tent!  For me that means turning off the internet, not answering the phone, and finding a distraction-free place to write.  And if those pecking dustbunnies and flying laundry baskets still distract, I just promise them that I’ll feed them in an hour, after I finish my feeding my muse.

How about you?  Is your writing time ever besieged by seagulls?  If so, what’s your solution?

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16 thoughts on “LUNCH at the BEACH: Thoughts on Seagulls and Writing

  1. Oh my! I’ve never had seagulls bombard us like that. Good thinking by your friend! Yes, those Internet seagulls do get me at times, and so I have to ignore them especially when I’m on assignment.

  2. I’m always amazed at how brazen seagulls can be. We were on vacation in St. Thomas and one seagull grabbed a hamburger out of a woman’s hand. The bun fell as he took off. But no worries! This bird was thorough. He came back for the bun! Actually, if I could be more focussed LIKE the seagulls, I’d probably get more work done. 🙂

  3. FABULOUS post, Laura. And now I know what to do if I ever get to the beach and try to eat a sandwich.
    I have a routine where I put the phone on Do Not Disturb and even turn it around so I will not see the blinking light. I also close the curtain…

  4. Those pictures are absolutely hilarious! I can’t believe that worked! My solution to seagulls at writing time is that I write for an hour a day. ANYTHING can wait for an hour. …and dustbunnies are my friends, so they’re just ALWAYS around.

  5. If I really don’t want any interruptions, I pack up and take myself to the library — the third floor where it’s quiet, cool and cozy. I always get a lot done there. It’s getting increasingly more difficult to write at home with the phone ringing, somebody turning on the tv, etc. The house across the street from us is also under renovations and the noise is distracting — radios, yelling, hammers, backhoes, and so on.

    • I agree that getting out of house is an effective way to thwart those seagulls. I like the library,too. A coffeehouse or even a shady bench in our local park also work (assuming I’m not eating with seagulls in the vicinity).

  6. Oh, this cracked me up…AND made me think of Hitchcock! Seagulls sure are getting bold, huh? I mean, I’ve never witnessed them go for food actually IN someone’s hand! Someone must’ve leaked we’re more afraid of them than them of us lol

    Great simile, btw! ‘Til now I hadn’t realized those little Twitter birds were actually seagulls! lol

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